Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dogemperor on Dominionism

DailyKos diarist Dogemperor, whom I have cited several times in the past, has a new series up on Dominionists and their "parallel economy."

Dominionism is a movement through which conservative Christians are attempting to influence and control the government, resulting in a nation under a fundamentalist Christian theocratic regime. Dominionists include such well-known folks as Richard DeVos (AmWay founder and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate), former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino's Pizza and the ultra-conservative Ave Maria School of Law, now creating a fundamentalist community in Florida), and Truett Cathy (head of restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A, which distributes Focus on the Family materials in their kids' meals). Other corporations under the Dominionist umbrella include Hobby Lobby, Paxson Communications (PaxTV) and US Plastics.

Dogemperor's current series examines each aspect of the Dominionists economy in detail, including a sobering look at "Christian Yellow Pages", Dominionist business directories which allow the fundamentalist Christians to deal only with those of like mind; corporate sponsors of Dominionism; Dominionist health care systems (the vast majority of which have no valid certifications in their respective fields); and Dominionist social services , again with no valid certification process.

To me, the scariest part is the social and medical aspects. Dominionists often practice what could be termed "spiritual abuse" or "religious abuse", including exorcisms, ritual child abuse, and "deliverance ministry." Of course, as ultra-conservative fundies, they also believe that sexual orientation is freely chosen (and hence, someone can be "de-gayed"). One of the most notorious "behavior modification" -- e.g., degaying -- groups, Staright, Inc., has particularly close ties to two Southern states... Florida and Texas. As Dogemperor points out:

Florida has a particularly infamous history here; the state actually has certified an alternate accreditation board for "faith-based" groups, and its head of Department of Children and Families and Department of Human Services heads are both former Straight, Inc. leaders.

It furthermore doesn't help when one of the main people partnering with the President on "faith-based issues" is the former head of Straight, Inc. himself. (Of note, Sembler and Bush set up an agency similar to Florida's FACCCA as an alternative licensing board for faith-based "behaviour mod" facilities; after five years of multiple incidents of abuse at these facilities exempted from licensing (including a facility where two attempted escapees were forced into a pit in a manner more resembling something out of Gitmo than a rehab facility) Texas finally discontinued the program--but not before people were forced into "faith-based coercion". George W. Bush has since attempted to use the failed Texas model as a nationwide model for "faith-based services".

Dogemperor points out that, because these abusive tactics are explicitly approved by the Dominionist community, "medical" and "social services" may not report child abuse to other authorities, leaving abused children in Dominionist families with no recourse, and no safety.

Dogemperor also looks at the influence these people have on one george w. bush. Ashcroft, of course, had considerable influence on the idiot king, but Dominionist organizations have also been integral parts of CommanderGuy's base: Coalition for National Policy, Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, Foundation for Traditional Values, Campus Crusade for Christ, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Gospel Communications, Salem Communications, Assemblies of God, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (a dominionist-run "mental health" facility), and Coral Ridge Ministries.

This sobering series -- and all of Dogemperor's work -- should be carefully studied by those who fear the direction in which the fundies are dragging us.

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